Rossies edge dour struggle
Roscommon 0-11 Antrim 1-6
ROSCOMMON manager John Evans had bemoaned the standard of play in the division during the week and his opinion will not have been changed by the fare on show at Casement Park where his side saw off Antrim by two points.
In 43 minutes of football, the home side had managed just one point, and while Evans' side had managed 0-8 by that mark, they had hit 12 wides in a dour struggle.
Conal Kelly's late goal gave the home support some hope of a smash-and-grab act, but Roscommon held on for a deserved, if unimpressive, win.
Donie Smith opened the scoring after three minutes, with Colin Compton doubling the advantage.
Roscommon were gifted the ball in their own half on the 10-minute mark for Compton to complete a flowing move for a 0-3 to 0-0 lead, but the full-forward was then guilty of a poor miss when blasting wide of the target in what was the game's first goal chance.
Kelly finally got Antrim off the mark, but Cathal Gregg immediately replied for a 0-5 to 0-1 lead and the captain completed the first half scoring to leave Roscommon 0-7 to 0-1 ahead at the interval.
Antrim narrowed the gap to five points midway through the second half, Tomás McCann and Brendan Herron joining Kelly on the scoresheet. Gregg and David O'Gara restored the seven-point cushion by the 56th minute, and Conor Devaney forced a great save from Saffrons goalkeeper John Finucane moments later. With the game whimpering to a close, back-to-back Antrim points from Colm Duffin and McCann made it a five-point game and when Kelly's injury-time effort hit the back of the net, just two separated the sides.
Antrim had one last chance to try and steal victory, but referee Brendan Rice blew the final whistle to put the meagre crowd out of their misery.
Scorers – Antrim: C Kelly 1-2, T McCann 0-2f, C Duffin, B Herron 0-1 each. Roscommon: C Gregg (3f), D Smith (1f), C Compton 0-3 each, C Daly, D O'Gara 0-1 each.
Antrim: J Finucane; K O'Boyle, A McClean, S Finch; A Healy, J Crozier, N Delargy; P Doherty, S McVeigh; M Herron, C Kelly, B Herron; R Murray, C Murray, M Pollock. Subs: T McCann for C Murray, T Scullion for S Finch, L Carland for S McVeigh, C Duffin for R Murray, P Kelly for M Herron.
Roscommon: M Miley; N Collins, N Carty, S McDermott; D Keenan, N Daly, C Daly; M Finneran, K Higgins; C Gregg, D O'Gara, D Keane; D Smith, C Compton, C Devaney. Subs: F Gregg for D O'Gara, D McDermott for C Gregg, S Oates for D Keane, C Dineen for C Devaney.
Referee: B Rice (Down)